Leave a Comment · Posted on January 15, 2019
Building Brave New Worlds – with novelist & historical fiction writer Tim Leach
Hive Young Writers’ Day
Sat 9th Feb 2019 – 10.30am – 4 pm | Venue: Sheffield Institute of Education, Charles Street, S1 2ND
Open to young people aged 14 – 25 years from across South Yorkshire
After his fascinating world-building taster at last year’s festival left everyone wanting more, historical fiction writer Tim Leach returns for our first young writers’ day of the year. If you want to get your teeth into a day of exploring the worlds you’re developing or are yet to create, join Tim to flesh your ideas into more detail, injecting life and depth into uncharted territory.
Building a world is only the beginning – the next challenge is making that world live, breathe, and move. In this day of workshops and exercises, you’ll look at how to go beyond a basic idea for a world, how to plan, structure, and draft larger projects through pacing, flow, and an understanding of the shape of stories.
This writers’ day is for young writers of any experience with an interest in world-building fiction. You might have a world on the go, you might be looking for inspiration to create a new one!
Tim Leach is a writer of historical fiction. His first novel The Last King of Lydia was published by Atlantic Books in 2013 and shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize, and a sequel, The King and the Slave, was published in 2014. He says he fell into historical fiction by accident, and would be happy to tell you how.
Tim is a graduate of the Warwick University Writing Programme, where he now teaches fiction on the undergraduate course. His latest book, Smile of the Wolf, was published by Head of Zeus in summer 2018, and was named as a book of the year in both The Times and The Sunday Times. www.tim-leach.co.uk
Tickets: only £5/£3 concessions, including refreshments (but not lunch)
Discounts: Hive is particularly keen to encourage young people who wouldn’t normally access this type of opportunity, and there are always discounts available for a number of tickets to support individuals who may be unable to pay in full, or to support travel costs within the region. Get in touch ASAP before places fill up if that sounds like you.
Booking: To book a place on this Writers’ Day, email email@example.com
Where: The Institute of Education, Charles Street Sheffield. This is just off Arundel Gate and Arundel Street, 5 minutes from Sheffield train & bus stations.
Someone will be there to greet people at the reception from 10.15am. Charles Street Building info here
Google map info here: 133 Charles Street, Sheffield S1 2ND
Hive Young Writers’ Days
Hive Young Writers’ Days are a chance for young writers, whatever your interest and ability, to develop your writing with support from professional writers, while meeting other young writers, and getting involved in the Hive young writers’ network.
Hive Young Writers’ Days are open to young people 14 to 25 (this changes sometimes). If you don’t quite fit, but you’d like to come, get in touch with: firstname.lastname@example.org)
For more about our writers’ days click here.
Supported by Sheffield Hallam University Faculty of Development & Society
Leave a Comment · Posted on January 15, 2019
Free spoken word & poetry workshops – for young people 12-15yrs
in Burngreave and nearby areas of Sheffield
10.30-12.30pm Monthly Saturdays
start 2nd Feb 2019 at Burngreave Library
All welcome. Relaxed and fun. Poetry, beats, rhythm, lyrics whatever you’re into! Run by writer & singer, Danae Wellington (Nyara Collective) for young people (12-15yrs) in the Burngreave and surrounding areas of Sheffield. Either drop in the library or email Danae email@example.com
Download flyer here.
Nyara Creative Collective supported by Hive South Yorkshire & Burngreave Library
I anxiously waited in my front row seat as the force that is Kweku Sackey (of KOG and the Zongo Brigade) entered to the side of the stage, drum in hands, anticipating what was to come. Powerful rhythmical pulsations of African percussion took me by surprise opening this quick-fire poetic monologue from spoken word artist Sipho Dube. Together they told an audio-visual story (with excellent use of stage lighting on the beat of drum gunshots), evoking vivid depictions of a community affected by gun crime, and sadly, in keeping with the current reality, a black man as the target.
The piece, commissioned by the University of Sheffield for the Festival of Social Science aimed to interpret Dr Hartman’s academic research on American gun control into something that could be understood in human terms and most importantly, felt by an audience. It did just that. Did it matter that it was American research? No. The prevalence of violent crime is on the rise in the UK and we can’t kid ourselves that we are that far away from the US in terms of criminal and state behaviours when it comes to the use of weapons.
Reminiscing on convenience stores, pubs and parks, Dube reaffirmed the hope a community holds onto even in the midst of upheaval. “We just want to live somewhere we can trust.” he said looking to us, the audience, for understanding.
Whilst watching Dude, spotlit, afraid and under siege, I was taken back to memories of myself as a teenager, angry, displaced and ready to inflict the pain I had carried for so long on someone else. I was frustrated and tired of the abuse I was facing at home and in school. Insecurity and vulnerability led me to arming myself with a knife, aged 15, in the misguided hope that just its presence would stop continuous bullying and let people know – I’d had enough.
Whilst watching Dude, spotlit, afraid and under siege, I was taken back to memories of myself as a teenager, angry, displaced and ready to inflict the pain I had carried for so long on someone else. I was frustrated and tired of the abuse I was facing…Insecurity and vulnerability led me to arming myself with a knife, aged 15, in the misguided hope that just its presence would let people know – I’d had enough.
In retrospect, I wasn’t looking at the severity of the consequences, only the false perception of the safety and power a weapon could give me as someone who felt powerless. But, young, angry and impulsive as I was, what followed was an attempt to seriously hurt someone.
I am very blessed to not have been charged with attempted murder by the victim’s mother, and from her strength, only in later years did I learn the true power of forgiveness and unconditional love. I often think of how she would have felt had she gotten a phone call to say her child was gone.
Believe me, I look back with regret, but each time I do, it strengthens my passion for empowering and encouraging young people to choose better and to transform their anger or feelings of injustice into art. The medium of Gun Clap itself, poetry, particularly spoken word, has been my saving grace, the means by which I can channel my vulnerabilities in a transformative and powerful way. It’s strengthened my passion to encourage parents to build strong and healthy channels of communication, and relationships with their children – to better understand them. But, more significantly, teach them that pain cannot exist where there is love. Education and empowerment begins at home- this is how we build confident, resilient and compassionate individuals – future autonomous leaders and pioneers.
As the performance continued, I raced to note down the truths and logic spoken by Dube. There was one line in particular that stood out to me the most, “The only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun”. This reminded me of a reverse of the old folk wisdom often said by my mother, you can’t fight fire with fire, and opened a floodgate of questions in my thoughts – is it actually better for a good guy to apply force? What constitutes a good guy? Can we really fight fire with fire?
…I raced to note down the truths and logic spoken by Dube. There was one line in particular that stood out to me the most, “The only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun”. This reminded me of a reverse of the old folk wisdom often said by my mother, you can’t fight fire with fire…
We are human, so in being human we are prone to change and volatility – I know this first hand, a bad guy can become good, a good guy can easily change sides, a good cop can easily become a bad cop – so is there any real logic in using violence to bring about peace?
As we have seen in America with Philando Castile, Tamir Rice and Eric Garner, to name a few who’ve died at the hands of police fire in the role of the ‘villain’, the stats tell us – let people in a society carry guns or have access to guns – and they will be used. Fear of being shot is the reason police say they fire after all. And I know, only too well, that the stats are against certain people, groups, backgrounds in terms of who holds a gun or knife and why. If we had the same access to guns, police and civilians in the UK, I’m aware my own story of violent crime could have been very different.
But even without guns, there are always knives, as in my own story. We must look at why people pick them up. And let’s not forget, as demonstrated in the racially motivated murder and stabbing of Stephen Lawrence, without the so-called ‘good guys’ treating all people as equal and deserving of justice (Lawrence is our most high profile case of a life failed by institutional racism in the UK) a society, in reality, controls nothing but it’s people. It is how it does it that matters. If the very institutions who protect us cannot be trusted to bring peace – what is the real solution?
At Gun Clap, it saddened me that much of the audience were likely far removed from the issues that might lead to violence and weapon use, only a bus ride away, so I was particularly humbled by the presence of young men of colour who ushered themselves in a little late, but nonetheless were ready and eager to take part and to voice their own experiences of violent crime.
We ended the night on a note of hope. After the show, I stayed for a discussion with Sipho, fellow poet, Warda Yassin, Vicky Morris from Hive, Kaltum Rivers the first female Somali Green Party Councillor, the young men I mentioned, their mentor Saeed Brasab and other youth engagement officers from Unity Gym.
We discussed the need for our grassroots projects and what we did. I spoke about Nyara Collective – the project I am forming around the Cinema for All project I’m doing through Hive. I want Nyara to empower young people through community cinema and creativity in Burngreave so we can impact young people to lead positive and healthy lives.
Events like Gun Clap and research such as Dr Hartman’s are important insights into the society that we live in today. It is of the utmost importance to come together to understand and tackle the root causes that force growing numbers of young men and women to arm themselves. There are varying and complex factors as to why violent crime has grown at alarming rates in the UK and around the world in so-called civilised nations. Marginalisation of BAME communities, the cuts to youth services, declining mental health, austerity and many socio-economic factors all contribute.
This is why organisations such as Hive and Unity Gym are so important- they champion young people and tirelessly strive to create platforms for us to safely bring ourselves in our entirety, to give us hope and opportunity to discover our best selves. Moreover, they challenge us to be the change that we strive to see in our communities. I was thrilled to find that both organisations were invited to the performance by the university and I hope that in future the university can consider touring the piece in places where particularly young people are affected by this issue, or bringing school groups together. I’d like to see many more coming togethers and communities working with big institutions like universities to find solutions for a brighter tomorrow.
Words by Danae Ife Wellington
Further discussion – Words by Warda Yassin
It was a night of important discussions where spoken word artist Sipho Dube used his words, body, music and a single red light to capture the current discourse about gun violence and its impact on men. Reminiscent of the video for This is America by Childish Gambino, he used the space to turn himself into a victim, perpetrator, and shooter whilst repeating the ask – do you care? It was up to the audience to decide, the masses, whose apathy creates and ignores this violence.
I was 15 when I first heard gunshots and didn’t register the loud noises (thinking somebody had set off fireworks) until it was later confirmed by locals. My first thought was – this isn’t America. Gun violence has historically been viewed as a problem across the pond due to UK controlled gun laws which prohibit handguns, semi-automatic and pump-action non-rim rifles. But this is not the case. Our friendly and safe city of Sheffield has seen a rise in both knife and gun crime. Over the past year alone it saw 5 people murdered within 13 days in March 2018. Most people I know have either heard of, or directly heard the sound of, some form of gun violence.
I was 15 when I first heard gunshots and didn’t register the loud noises (thinking somebody had set off fireworks) until it was later confirmed by locals. My first thought was – this isn’t America.
Although these issues are increasing, awareness and discussions around them are seemingly not. There appears to be few spaces or events which aim to bring people together into safe discussions (with youths at the heart of it), so Gun Clap was a welcome change.
Malcolm X famously said “The most disrespected person in America is the black woman.” and I have found this statement to be true for black men too, particularly in western countries, to this day. They are often associated with crime and at the receiving end of damaging stereotype. It is not unusual for people to clutch their bags in false anticipation, walk a little faster for no apparent reason, and for young black males to be marked before they speak.
So naturally, I’m looking for discussion that looks beyond this false rhetoric and probes into the larger picture, asking the much-needed questions as to why there is an increase in violence in Sheffield. I do not want to be privy to another conversation implicating or blaming young black boys and refusing to acknowledge them as the main victims of gun violence. I want to hear dialogue about the emergence of apathy towards these boys, who are killed in undeserving ways, at tragically young ages, for the statistics in the research to include the young black boys murdered at the hands of police officers who are meant to be responsible for keeping them safe, the lack of justice and the fractures it creates within disillusioned communities who are less reluctant to approach law enforcement for support.
I want to hear dialogue about the emergence of apathy towards these boys, who are killed in undeserving ways, at tragically young ages, for the statistics in the research to include the young black boys murdered at the hands of police officers who are meant to be responsible for keeping them safe…
The audience was a mixture of students, academics, community workers, poets and some really proactive youth who volunteer in their communities. It was their insights and our after discussion with the latter that gave me hope. In it, one shared his voluntary role as an intermediary volunteer with health officials on how to talk to victims of violence. This young person revealed how he coached them to not immediately coerce them to share information and to show more compassion. He stressed how they might not be ready, and about how they may fear repercussions of what might be perceived as snitching. It highlighted the generational gap and how those in power must listen to the voices of young people when they are showing them how best to support them.
One asked “Do you think there is a correlation between the closing down of youth clubs and the rise in violence?” another asked if “data in gun violence and its research somewhat dehumanised people.” as it did not focus on these individuals or communities. Dube was warm as he encouraged the audience to speak to local politicians, write to academics about their research and be proactive in the change we want to see in our communities.
An older youth mentor poignantly ended the discussion with a reminder: we need to teach our children to love and to fall in love with softness so they can spread this love out into the world. He was brave and honest as he shared his past transgressions and how he raises his son to see the goodness in everyone. I left the event different to how I entered, less pessimistic and sheepish about how gun violence might be explored, and more hopeful about how the younger generation were teaching each other and if given support, they can change things.
Words by Warda Yassin
Danae Wellington & Warda Yassin are emerging young writers working with Hive through the Hatch programme.
Thank you to all: Sipho Dude, Dr Hartman, Amy Carter, Lynette Hodge, all who came, particularly the young men and their wonderful mentors from Unity Gym, and the University of Sheffield for hosting such an insightful event.
Gun clap is a powerful and thought-provoking spoken word performance commissioned by the University of Sheffield bringing together the research on attitudes towards gun-control by Dr Todd Hartman and the artistic voice of SMI student Sipho Dube. To encourage debate and discussion around gun-control and highlight the value of quantitative social science research to the big challenges in society.” If you wish to read the research paper by Dr Hartman click here
Event photos courtesy of John Seddon | click image below to view gallery >
We were delighted that the lovely folks at the So Africa Festival 2018 invited four talented and emerging Hive young writers of African heritage to perform at the Crucible Theatre on the Friday and Saturday of their weekend-long festival in October.
They were: Silethokuhle Sibanda (Zimbabwean), Warda Yassin (Somalian) Salma Lynch (Moroccan), and Danae Wellington (Jamaican). The stage was situated in the busy foyer area of the Crucible so attracted a wonderful mix of audiences of all ages, from those who had just wandered in to see what was going on, to family and friends coming to support.
Organised by Utopia Theatre and Sheffield Theatres, this was the first Spirit of Africa Festival, (So Africa) that took place over a lively weekend in October. The festival aimed to immerse Sheffield in cultures of Africa celebrating the whole African continent and the African Diaspora – bringing people of all ages together to enjoy the traditional and contemporary from music, theatre and film to poetry, dance and visual arts.
Music headliners included hip-hop artist, writer/poet and historian Akala and Nigerian musician Seun Kuti leading his legendary father Fela Kuti’s former band Egypt 80.
Big thanks to John Rwoth-Omack, Moji Kareem, Tchiyiwe Thandiwe Chihana, Annalisa Toccara and all the great team at So Africa who were a pleasure to connect with for this and a previous October event with Verse Matters. Here’s to another great festival next year!
Leave a Comment · Posted on December 5, 2018
During the Off the Shelf Festival of Words 2018, writers Stacey Sampson and Warda Yassin led Hive community workshops with young women aged, 14 to 24, around empowerment and voice.
The workshops, commissions by the festival, mark 100 years since the first wave of women being given the right to vote in Britain. The idea was to work with and encourage young women who might not normally come to a creative writing workshop to explore ideas of empowerment, belonging, female identity and leadership, through spoken and written word, and to encourage them to access writing opportunities in the future.
Emerging poet, Warda Yassin worked with young Somali women, and act and novelist, Stacey Sampson worked with young people through Sheffield YWCA.
Enjoy some of the work produced.
Thanks to Off the Shelf Festival of Words, Warda Yassin & Stacey Sampson.
In September Hive young poets were lucky enough to perform on the opening night of the Ted Hughes Festival 2018 alongside the amazing Afro-futurist musician and poet, Moor Mother, all the way from Philadelphia USA. Ten emerging young writers aged 15 and upwards performed in Mexborough with young rapper and spoken word artist Dominic Heslop hosting.
Feedback from the night was a wonderful boost for all involved. Comments from the post-it wall confirmed that people were blown away by the talent and bravery of all.
Our performers were: Danaë Wellington, Salma Lynch, Warda Yassin, Dominic Heslop, Georgie Woodhead, Sile Sibanda, Vertaa Lune, Tixxy Bang and Kiran Malhi-Bearn (also of Verse Matters) and doing a longer set just before Moor Mother was 16 year old spoken word artist and rapper Fionn McCloskey, (aka Hythyn), who first performed in 2017 at the Youth Word Up even with Hive and Off the Shelf Festival of Words.
On the Saturday, young writers enjoyed an afternoon workshop with Mike Garry, and Hythyn freestyled with Moor Mother. On the Saturday night, the wonderful Sile Sibanda, a Hive young spoken word artist hailing from Rotherham, did a stellar job of hosting and introducing some fabulous acts including big name poets Mike Garry and Kate Fox. Sile says she’s now got the hosting bug.
Thanks to Michele Beck and all at Ted Hughes for inviting us and given young emerging writers an exciting platform to be heard. Thanks to Warren Draper for the amazing photos!
Moor Mother is an international touring musician, poet, visual artist, and workshop facilitator from Philadelphia, USA. She has performed at numerous festivals, colleges, galleries, and museums around the world.
As a soundscape and visual artist, her work has been featured at Baltic Biennale, Samek Art Museum, Vox Populi, Pearlman Gallery, Metropolitan Museum of Art Chicago, ICA Philadelphia. As a workshop facilitator, she has presented at Cornell University, MOFO Festival, Moogfest, Black Dot Gallery and others. Moor Mother is co-founder and curator of Rockers Philly Project a 10-year long running event series and festival focused on marginalised musicians and artists spanning multiple genres of music.
Her debut album Fetish Bones was released on Don Giovanni records to critical acclaim. Fetish Bones was named 3rd best album of the year by The Wire Magazine, number 1 by Jazz Right Now and has appeared on numerous end of the year lists from Pitchfork, Noisy, Rolling Stone, and Spin Magazine. Moor Mother was named by Rolling Stone as one of the 10 artists to watch in 2016 and named Bandcamp’s 2016 artist of the year. Moor Mother released a 2nd LP called The Motionless Present commissioned by CTM X VINYL FACTORY 2017. Moor Mother has appeared in the Quietus, Interview Magazine, The Guardian, Crack, Pitchfork and others. Moor Mother’s schedule has included Berhaign, Borealis, CTM Festival, Le Guess Who, Unsound, Flow and Donau Festival, Rewire, Boiler Room and MOMA PS1.
Leave a Comment · Posted on November 9, 2018
The wonderful Cinema For All have chosen young writers from Hive to become cultural film programmers, setting up inclusive film screenings for young people in Burngreave, Sheffield to inspire them to write.
The project, currently awaiting a name and led by young writer and singer, Danaë Wellington, will see Burngreave Library transformed into a cinema showing seminal liberation-through-the-power-of-words films including SLAM (Marc Levin/Saul Williams), Freedom Writers Diary (based on the true story of Erin Gruwell and her young Freedom Writers) and Straight Outta Compton (a biopic about west coast hip-hop collective NWA).
The project hopes to give out free writing journals and will support emerging writers to lead workshops exploring writing and poetry based at the library.
The Cinema For All initiative, Launchpad Hothouse, is providing training sessions, bursaries to cover the first film licenses, free-loan equipment, and Cinema For All membership for the year. Hive is supporting the young team through organising and marketing, and Danae Wellington through mentoring and delivering follow-on workshops as part of the Hatch programme – developing young writers for next steps.
It’s hoped that the project will join with another Sheffield Hatch project to showcase work in spring 2019.
Watch this space for updates!
Big thanks to:
Ellie Ragdale from Cinema For All who’s supporting the project, and to Marcia Layne and Erica Patterson at Burngreave Library
About Cinema For All
Cinema For All believes that watching films as part of a community can change lives. It supports grassroots, community, volunteer-led cinema and has an impressive 70-year history in the UK. Its office is based in Sheffield but it runs projects across the country. Traditionally community, volunteer-led cinema was found in more rural areas. These days, you’ll find it everywhere!
Find out more about Cinema For All at cinemaforall.org.uk
Leave a Comment · Posted on October 4, 2018
Huge congratulations are in order to 15-year-old Georgie Woodhead, one of the 15 winning poets of the Foyle Young Poets of the Year 2018, and to Maya Williams-Hamm, 16, highly-commended in the competition.
Judges Daljit Nagra and Caroline Bird (herself a former winner) chose 15 winners and 85 commended poets from a whopping 6,000 poets and nearly 11,000 poems. Writers from 83 different countries entered the competition, from as far afield as Trinidad and Tobago, Sri Lanka, Uruguay and Malaysia. Selecting just 100 winners was a tough job – Daljit Nagra has spoken about “the maturity of the work we read; so many of our young poets showed a keen awareness of serious issues such as identity politics, environment issues and the global tensions currently between nation states.”
The Foyle Young Poets 2018 anthology will see the top 15 poems in print, with the commended poems being published in an online anthology.
Both poets went to London on 2nd Oct to receive their honour. Georgie also recorded her winning poet for The Verb with South Yorkshire’s very own, Ian McMillan (airing on Radio 3 at 10pm on Friday 5th Oct).
You can read Georgie’s and all the winning poems here
Georgie Woodhead Bio
Georgie Woodhead is a young writer from Sheffield who attends Hive’s Sheffield Young Writers. She was one of two highly commended young poets in the Cuckoo Northern Writers Award 2018. She was a winner of the Foyle Poetry Prize 2018 and came 2nd in the young people’s category of the Ledbury Poetry Competition 2018. Georgie has been published in Hive anthologies, halfway smile and wild poetry. She’s performed at various young writers’ events, and festivals including the Ted Hughes Poetry Festival 2018.
Top/bottom photos: Hayley Madden for The Poetry Society
Leave a Comment · Posted on September 16, 2018
Hive Fiction programme for writers (18-30s) – take your writing to the next level
Writing can be a lonely and a tricky business to navigate, even for those who’ve been doing it for some time. It’s difficult to know where to get feedback, or if what you’re writing makes the grade. And then there’s what to do with a story or novel once you’ve finished.
If you’re an aspiring short story writer, or novelist, keen to take your craft to the next level, Hive is running the Hive Fiction programme offering an immersive set of workshops over several months providing the help and guidance to get to where you want to be. Join prize-winning author, editor, and short story writer, Nik Perring, for all things fiction, and:
Who’s the Hive Fiction programme for?
The programme is for fiction writers, aged 18 to 30 in South Yorkshire, at any stage of their writing journey who would like to get more serious. You might lack direction, sticking power, or confidence. You might have a project you want to get stuck into, or want to sharpen your skills, or focus on honing your work.
All levels, genres and interests welcome | Meet like-minded people | Refreshments | Where: central Sheffield near trains/buses
Intro session TBC – Regular fortnightly sessions – day and time subject to majority interest in the first meeting (likely a weekday evening or Saturday afternoon)
Cost: The programme is subsidised by Hive South Yorkshire meaning a cost of just £55 for 12 sessions, one to one tutorials and support at key stages (around £3.50 a session). If cost is a barrier, please let us know in your application. Places are limited.
To Apply: Send up to 4xA4 pages of work (Times/font size 12), and up to 600 words saying what your interests are, where you are with your writing, and how you’d like the programme to help you to firstname.lastname@example.org (also include your age, date of birth, town you live in and postcode)– by midnight 31st Oct (before the pumpkin turruns into November!)
Nik Perring is a short story writer and the author of five books. His work has appeared in many fine places all over the world including Smokelong, Word Riot, 3 :AM Magazine, and The Fiction Desk. It’s also been read on the radio, performed on the stage, printed on fliers and appeared, with Dave Eggars’, on a High School Distance Learning course in the US.
Nik is also an editor and a teacher of writing, working with both adults and young people, everywhere from primary schools and high schools to universities and the BBC. He’s a key facilitator for Hive South Yorkshire and writer in residence, for First Story, at Leeds West Academy, and Melior Academy in Scunthorpe.
Hive Fiction is part of the Hatch programme – next step opportunities for young and emerging writers aged 18 to 30